Posted in First-Line Fridays, Weekly Themed Posts

First-Line Friday #204

Meet Me in the Margins

by Melissa Ferguson

Pacing the back corner of the packed meeting room in outstandingly uncomfortable heels, I move as silently as possible along the three feet of available aisle space between my begrudgingly accommodating coworker, Clyve, and the horde of beady osprey staring down at me from the vintage wallpaper.


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Posted in Thursday Encouragement, Weekly Themed Posts

Thursday Encouragement #164

Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.


Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His Name!

Psalm 100:4 (ESV)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone in America! I hope today is a blessed day for you, your family, and your friends!

I am thankful for so many things. God has abundantly and richly blessed my life. I am so thankful for my husband and daughter. I am so grateful for my parents, my brothers and sister, and my nieces and nephews. I am grateful for my job and for all of my students. I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for all my blog followers. But I am most grateful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. God is my reason for everything. I love Him so much and I am so thankful I am here today so I can share this thankfulness with you.

Today, remember that God LOVES you. He is for you. He is waiting with open arms to carry you through all life brings your way. I am eternally grateful for God and His promises to love us all and carry us all through no matter what.


NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!

WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational

Tomorrow’s Constant Hope (2021)

About the Book

Book:  Tomorrow’s Constant Hope

SeriesTexas Promise #3

Author: Naomi Rawlings

Genre: Christian Historical Romance; Western Romance

Release Date: November 15, 2021

The last thing a woman on the run needs is to find herself married to the richest rancher in Texas…

Keely O’Brien has spent the past five months on the run, but no matter what she does, she can’t seem to evade the ring of dangerous criminals that killed her brother in Chicago. When she spots an ad for a wife from the owner of a small ranch on a remote stretch of Texan desert, she knows she’s found the perfect hiding spot. The Wolf Point Ring might be searching far and wide for her, but they wouldn’t think to look in the tiny, sun-scorched town of Twin Rivers, Texas. Now if she can just keep her new husband from finding out why she really married him…

Agamemnon “Wes” Westin’s feet might be firmly planted in West Texas soil, but his heart is running… Running from the loss of his first wife and stillborn daughter, and running from the fear of suffering loss again. Unfortunately, he has little choice about needing to marry, but he does have a choice about who he marries. If he has to share his roof with someone, he wants a woman who works hard and doesn’t complain. That’s why he decides to run an ad for a bride, claiming that he owns a small ranch, rather than the sprawling cattle empire he inherited from his father. After all, what woman is going to be upset when she finds out her husband is one of the richest men in Texas?

When Wes discovers Keely is hiding from criminals who want her dead, he can’t help but protect her—even if she’s irate with him for lying about the size of his ranch. When danger arrives in Twin Rivers, both Wes and Keely find themselves facing their deepest fears. Will they let their pain and past losses ruin their dreams? Or will Wes and Keely find a way to forge a new life together?

From jagged mountains and green river valleys to cattle ranches and vivid sunsets, Tomorrow’s Constant Hope offers a meaningful story about simpler times, sincere faith, and learning to love again after loss.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

OK, so Naomi Rawlings is completely incapable of writing a bad story. Tomorrow’s Constant Hope is FABULOUS! I have loved every story by Rawlings, but it’s official, Tomorrow’s Constant Hope is my favorite to date. This book is SOOOOOOOO good! First, it’s just so well-crafted. The pacing is superb. I read this beautiful story in less than 24 hours. I was hooked from page one and simply could not put this book down. The setting is glorious. I live in the high desert in California, so I have a soft spot for desert settings. They really do have a beauty unlike any other place on earth, and Rawlings captures this perfectly in her book. Rawlings’s characters are also quite special. She has a wonderful way of creating heroes and heroines who get under the reader’s skin and worm their way into our hearts. I love Wes, and Keely is simply amazing. Both are totally endearing and relatable. And, the themes that Rawlings discusses in her novel are thoughtful and timely. All in all, Tomorrow’s Constant Hope is spectacular and I cannot recommend it enough.

Grief and trauma do terrible things to a person’s heart and psyche. They can make us utter vows we really have no business uttering. My heart hurt so deeply for Wes, the hero of this outstanding story. At the start of this novel, Wes is still reeling from the loss of his first wife and unborn child when he marries Keely. He is reeling so deeply that he marries Keely in name only. He swears he will never ever love a woman again, and he will never ever get a woman pregnant as long as he lives. To many, Wes’s vows appear completely over the top. I mean how can anyone stop the heart from loving? How can anyone predict what the future holds? We aren’t God, so how can Wes utter these silly vows with so much fervor and certainty?

My husband and I have actually walked a mile in Wes’s shoes. When we got married we wanted to get pregnant right away. I was 30 and he was 40. We weren’t spring chickens! So we got pregnant right away. Everything was going as planned until I reached the 6-month mark. Then things got bad. I got very sick, our daughter came three months early, I almost died the night of her birth, and she almost died three times over the course of 3 1/2 months. To say my husband and I were traumatized would be an understatement. We may have uttered oaths similar to Wes. It happens. We want so badly to control things, to protect those we love, to protect ourselves, that we say things we very much mean in the moment. Yes, we play God. We don’t mean to put ourselves in God’s place, but we do so while in the fog and haze of trauma and deep-seated fear.

It has taken my husband and me many, many years to actually place our trust in God and give our lives, and the life of our daughter, over to God completely. It’s not easy and we still have days where PTSD strikes and we say and do dumb things. We’re human! What I love so much about Tomorrow’s Constant Hope is how we get to see things through Wes’s perspective. We get to see WHY he feels the way he does. We get to see him wrestle with his trauma and his fears, and we get to see him work all this out with God and with Keely. I can personally attest that Wes is one of the most real heroes I’ve ever read. And, it is pretty cool to see myself and my husband reflected through this character. This book, in many ways, is an exceptionally cathartic read and I am very blessed to have read it.

As with all her novels, Tomorrow’s Constant Hope is absolutely phenomenal. It is a story I will never forget. If you are a fan of well-written, heart-gripping Western Romances filled with well-crafted characters and timely themes, then Tomorrow’s Constant Hope is the book for you!

***Recommendation*** Tomorrow’s Constant Hope can easily be read as a standalone novel; however, I personally feel that to get the best reading experience you should read Tomorrow’s First Light first.

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Naomi Rawlings, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Must-Get Monday, Weekly Themed Posts

Must-Get Monday #64

Her Darling Mr. Day

American Royalty #2

by Grace Hitchcock

58302967
Releases January 4, 2022

Amazon 👑 Goodreads

I am SO excited to read this book. I absolutely loved the first book in the series, My Dear Miss Dupre, and have been anticipating My Darling Mr. Day ever since. If you haven’t read book 1 yet, I highly recommend you do so ASAP!

About the Book

Jilted in front of all New York, Theodore Day decides to lose himself in his family’s luxury riverboat business in New Orleans and compete against his brother to become the next company head. The brother with the most sales by summer’s end will win the position. Thanks to Theodore’s fame as a suitor in Willow Dupré’s outlandish competition to find a husband, he has become very desirable royalty in southern society and thus has an advantage.

It took Flora Wingfield’s best work to convince her family to summer in New Orleans, but with Teddy Day a bachelor once again, she’s leaving nothing to chance. Desperate to stand out from all the clamoring belles, Flora attempts a bold move that goes completely awry, only to find it’s her interior design skills that finally catch his notice.

But when Flora learns her father has matchmaking schemes of his own, Teddy will have to decide where his happiness truly lies and what he is willing to sacrifice for it.


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What’s a book that you can’t wait to get your hands on?

Posted in Clean Wholesome Romance, Contemporary Clean Read

Jilted (2016)

About the Book

Title: Jilted

Series: Discovered by Love #1

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 19, 2016

Exclusive e-book, free to Carla’s newsletter subscribers! More details on author’s web site.

Three days. Two jaded hearts. One unexpected love.

Bethany Hall is hiding out on a remote private island off the coast of Belize, creating romantic meals for the rich and the privileged. But when her client Derek Moretti’s bride jilts him at the altar, he’s left with a bitter view on love, a $30,000 a week bungalow, and for the first time in his life, nowhere else to be.

After Derek overhears his beautiful personal chef talking about how he dodged a bullet when his bridezilla left him, he begins to think that maybe she’s right. He convinces Bethany to act as his personal tour guide for the remainder of his trip, but neither expects that their purely platonic arrangement could shake their preconceptions about love.

Could Derek have been in the right place at the right time…just with the wrong woman?

Click HERE to visit Carla’s Website for Your Copy of this Novella!

My Thoughts

What a fun and engaging read! I really loved my time reading Jilted by Carla Laureano. The first thing to know about this book is it’s a novella, so it’s a super fast-paced story. The romantic chemistry between Bethany and Derek ignites fairly immediately, but that’s to be expected. It is a novella after all. I have to say the insta-attraction is well written. Sometimes, you really know when you meet the one. And, even though they are reluctant to admit it because they are both love cynics, Bethany and Derek know they’ve met someone different, someone special. Laureano does a great job pacing Bethany and Derek’s meet-cute, their blossoming friendship and attraction, and their inevitable happily ever after. I found their story believable. The issues that Bethany and Derek struggle with in regards to matters of the heart are quite relatable. And, the yummy food and beautiful settings described in this story make me long for a vacation to Belize like yesterday! All in all, Jilted is a really sweet, really enjoyable Contemporary Romance I highly recommend. Head on over to Laureano’s website today to grab your copy of this fun read.

I received a copy of this novella in eBook form from the author, Carla Laureano, via her website in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Dead Fall (2021)

About the Book

Book: Dead Fall

SeriesThe Quantico Files #2

Author: Nancy Mehl

Release Date: November 2, 2021

Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense

After facing the demons from her past, Alex Donovan is ready to move on and focus on her career at the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). When renowned profiler and BAU co-founder John Davis is found dead in his hotel room, the FBI is called in to work on the strangest case they’ve ever faced. How do you find a killer who murders his victims without touching them?

When it becomes clear that the killer is targeting agents in Alex’s unit, they are ordered into lockdown, sheltered in the dorms at Quantico. Alex bunks with a controversial agent, Kaely Quinn, who has returned after being dismissed three years earlier. As they work together, Alex discovers in Kaely the role model she’s never had, despite being warned away.

As Alex questions who she wants to become, things get personal when the brilliant killer strikes close to home. Now Alex will do anything to find the killer–even at the risk of her own life.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Hold on to your seats when you read this book! Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl is a novel that grips readers from page one and doesn’t let up until page done. There is so much to love about this book. First, this story is seriously fast-paced. When you decide to read this book, make sure you set aside a good chunk of time cause you are not going to want to be disturbed. The suspense is crazy good — it kept me turning pages well into the night. Mehl has a gift for ending her chapters at the exact moment you don’t want them to end. LOL! The characters are also fantastic First, the villain is especially villainous. He is one of the scariest villains I’ve ever read, and how he “kills” his victims is pretty eccentric. Not only is the villain well crafted, but Mehl’s protagonists are pretty stellar, too. I have actually been anticipating this book since I read the first story in the Quantico Files series because Mehl includes Kaely Quinn from her Kaely Quinn Profiler series. Kaely is one of my most favorite characters ever so I was SUPER excited to see how she would fit in with Alex and her BAU team members. She fit in great and I love how she becomes a sort-of mentor to Alex. I appreciate how respectful and considerate Kaely is of Alex’s trauma, and how she clearly wants to help Alex but also respects her boundaries. One of the reasons I like this story so much is because the focus is more on a female, good-friends relationship rather than on a romantic relationship. You don’t see those relationship types get much development in a Romantic Suspense. It was refreshing to read something unique and unlike what’s typical of the genre. I also really appreciate the many topics discussed in this book. The discussion on finding our value in God and not in other humans is my favorite talking point. As someone who has gotten caught up in caring about what others thought about me, this reminder of where my value comes from resonated deeply.

Dead Fall is another home run by Nancy Mehl. If you are a fan of Suspense novels, then this is definitely the book for you. Purchase yourself a copy today so you don’t miss out on a gripping who-done-it!

I received a copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, in order to review. I also purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on November 4, 2021, in order to review. I also received an eBook copy via NetGalley to review. In no way has any of this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Thursday Encouragement, Weekly Themed Posts

Thursday Encouragement #163

Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.


Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I Am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’

Acts 13:40-41 (ESV)

I know I have been on a Psalm 91 kick lately … but I have to take a pause and talk about these verses from Acts 13. They are brain-popping amazing! I promise I will get back to Psalm 91, but God’s putting it on my heart to talk about Acts 13:40-41 and pose to you, dear readers, some questions, which means I got to listen to His command.

In the annual Bible study I’m following this year, I’m currently in the middle of Acts. Acts 13 walloped me. I actually said to my hubby, “Did you know this has been in the Bible the whole time?!” He good-naturedly laughed at me because he, too, has had those moments with his own Bible reading. You know those moments — those times you’re reading something in the Bible and it’s like the first time you’ve ever seen the verse or concept before, and it just seems to fit so perfectly with where we’re at in the world or where you’re at in your life. It’s those moments God speaks so loudly and clearly to you. I LOVE those moments, and I think it is a testament to just how cool and creative God is — His Word truly is active and sharp every single day!

But I digress.

Re-read the verses I shared today. What sticks out to you? What screams at you?

For me, it is several things all at once. First, it is the word scoffers and the phrase “a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.” Second, it is the word beware and the fact that some Prophet of old made a prediction.

What is a scoffer? According to the dictionary, a scoffer is a person who mocks or makes fun of someone or something, often because of religion or moral values. It is someone who MAKES FUN OF or MOCKS someone or something they don’t agree with.

Scoffing has become a professional sport in today’s world. Everyone scoffs everyone. Everyone FEELS they know more or better than everyone else. Pride really has taken a foothold in almost everyone’s heart. What has been getting to me lately is how ugly people are towards each other … especially when FACTS are presented. Holy cow, don’t mention an actual fact, you’ll get eviscerated by practically everyone. It’s crazy. We live in a day where TRUTH is heralded as FAKE NEWS and FAKE NEWS is heralded as Gospel TRUTH. Isaiah is probably in Heaven shaking his head at all of us saying, “I told you so!” (Isaiah 5:20).

But the Prophets of old warned us this would happen — BEWARE, people will NOT believe even if you sit down and show them proof. They don’t want proof of the Truth. Honestly, they don’t want the Truth. They want their truth and their feelings and their proof. We, actual God-fearing men and women, should NOT be surprised by any of this. Not only does Paul tells us in Acts, but Habakkuk the Prophet tells us this exact thing in Habakkuk 1:5. In fact, he is the Prophet Paul is talking about when he says, BEWARE, lest what the Prophets declared comes true.

“Look amoung the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I Am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”

Habakkuk 1:5 (ESV)

Are you a scoffer? Are you the type of person Habakkuk and Paul are referring to? In these last days, when people speak are you quick to dismiss what they are saying just because you may not like it or agree with it? Do you get immediately angry and defensive? Do you do everything in your power to shut that person up? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you just may be a scoffer and mocker.

When people say something and you don’t like it, have you ever considered why you might not like what is being said? Have you read the reports the person is sharing? Have you looked at the graphs and documents and personal testimonies BEFORE making a judgment? Have you analyzed WHY you think you are so sure you are right? Have you prayed to God asking that He lead you down HIS right path? Have you asked Him to show you the truth in a matter?

I implore you, dear reader, to really consider these verses today and the questions I have posed above. There is no judgment here. Only concern. We are running out of time to get our hearts right with God. God is DOING a GREAT work. He is active right this second. Can you see His works every day? Do you see how Prophecy is coming true day by day? Are you on His side? Or are you too focused on what feels right to you? Got to honestly get to the bottom of these questions before it’s too late.

The next time someone says something to you that you don’t like, instead of scoffing and mocking and doing all you can to prove him/her wrong, maybe take a second to pray and ask God to show you the way…HIS way! Cause honestly, maybe you are being played by the devil. Scoffing and mocking feed into the devil, NOT Jesus Christ. Whose side are you really on? Just because your friends say the same thing you do doesn’t mean you are right. It’s not confirmation of anything more than you choosing your own way. Be like Hezekiah — take your feelings and thoughts and truths to God. Lay them before Him and see what He has to say (2 Kings 19:14).


NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!

WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?